federico diaz: outside itself at venice art biennale 2011
jul 18, 2011
federico diaz: outside itself at venice art biennale 2011


‘outside itself’ by federico díaz at venice art biennale 2011
images © dox

prague-based artist federico díaz has created ‘outside itself’ as a collateral event of the venice art biennale 2011. organized by DOX, the czech center
for contemporary art, this interactive installation is completely assembled by robotic machines, untouched by human hands from conception to materialization.
drawing from the notion of viral growth, this site-specific installation is mathematically programmed to respond to viewer’s interactions, then self-replicate,
morphing into a life form unto itself.

drawing from the 54th biennale’s theme of ‘ILLUMInations’, this work integrates light with technology to examine simulation and stimulation of social
experiences in today’s global society: the installation’s form is defined by the engagement of visitors from across the world, enabled by the robots that transcend
the limitations of the human body.


installation view

light-sensitive robots at the far end of the hall are shaped by data of viewers’ presence, making it a participatory work. monitored on an illuminated rectangle
in the site’s center, the ambient light is influenced by movements and even clothing of viewers: optical sensors use this information to create a data stream
that informs the robots in their production of the shape-shifting installation.


onlookers watch the robots in the foreground as a woman alters the site’s light in the background


detail of area with light sensors


robots detail

equipped with the data from the central monitored area, the two robots build small balls, each
representing an individual photon of light.
a mathematical program enables the installation’s two robots to create and arrange about 2,000 5-centimeter-diameter balls every 12 hours.

this use of robot-generated balls builds off of a
previous data sculpture by díaz, ‘geometric death
frequency-141′, which remains on view at MASS
MoCA (massachusetts museum
of contemporary art) through spring 2012. see
designboom’s previous coverage for more information on the work.


robot detail


robot detail


balls detail


curator alanna heiss and artist federico díaz


the installation was curated by alanna heiss, founder of the PS1 contemporary art center in new york. on view now through
september 30, 2011, it is being presented in the northern section of the 54th biennale’s main arsenale in venice, italy.

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